Remembering Jesse: local hero honored by community
by Mindy Aguon, KUAM News
Friday, December 08, 2006
U.S. Army Sergeant Jesse Castro is being remembered by friends and family. An inspiration to the men and women in our country's armed forces, Castro's legacy will never be forgotten. In three weeks Jesse Castro, affectionately known as "Chu" by those who knew him best would have turned 24. Instead, he paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving his country during his second tour in Iraq.
The lives of Castro and four other members of the Hawaii-based 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division were tragically cut short when an improvised explosive device detonated while they were conducting mountain patrol near Kirkuk. A large crowd of loved ones attended a mass this morning to honor young Jesse's life. "You gave me a wonderful son, for twenty-three years, he was my blessing," said Dorothea "Doreen" Jesus, Jesse's mother.
She cradled her grandson, attempting to find solace in the legacy her son left behind in his own offspring. "He is going to live his life just like Daddy," she said proudly, "he is going to be respectful to everyone, and play sports, just like Daddy."
On Thursday night Jesse's wife Theresa received a phone call that would forever change her life. Joe Moore, Jesse's father-in-law, described his family's strength in this most unbearable of times by saying honestly, "Life is too short, freedom is not free, so don't ever take it for granted. The other thing is to keep everybody in your prayers. Faith is probably the strongest thing that anybody could ever give another person. We just thought it would never happen to us, but it did. Now you're being tested, now you're being challenged, and I'm sure that everyone will get through this."
Castro had the ability to touch the hearts of all he encountered and had a genuine zest for life. He strived for success in all he did from playing baseball to grappling with mixed martial arts groups, to serving his country and being awarded two Purple Hearts for injuries he suffered while in battle. "He left behind a legacy," continued Moore, "he left his son, his wife, his mom and his sister. And life will go on, it just takes time to heal from then on we can go on with life."
So if variety is the spice of life, then Castro undoubtedly enriched the lives of all he met. This proud son of Guam will forever be remembered in the hearts and minds of all who knew him as a hero - an inspiration to all. Nightly rosaries are being said at the Castro residence in Chalan Pago at 7pm. In the meantime the Castro and Moore families are preparing to have Sergeant Jesse Castro's body brought back so he can be laid to rest here at home.
Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo issued the following statement after learning of Castro's death, "I am deeply saddened by the loss of Jesse Castro and I extend my heartfelt sympathy to his family. We should all keep Jesse, his wife Theresa, his son Jesse, Jr., and the rest of his family in our prayers during this time of loss and sorrow. I pray every day for the safe return of our men and women who are deployed in harm's way for our freedom. God bless Jesse Castro and his family."
And following suit, Governor Felix Camacho extended his own condolences, writing, "Today is a sad day for the people of Guam. First Lady Joann and I extend our deepest condolences to the Castro Family on the loss of their son, husband and father. Jesse died in defense of our great nation and we all must remember that he paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms that we all enjoy today."